Author : Desmond Hussey, Staff Writer

For reasons unexplained a man finds himself in the woods late at night, separated from his companions, without a light and quite alone.

The night is dark, but not pitch-black, just light enough for him to see the hint of path before him. He suddenly finds himself standing before a shapeless “Void,” much darker than the surrounding forest. Immediately, he’s aware of an unseen presence within. He knows he’s being watched.

The man is calm and deeply curious about this phenomenon. He’s no stranger to weirdness, only weird to strangers. The paranormal does not bother him. He has, you might say, become accustomed to mysterious “disturbances in the force”. Despite his lack of fear, however, something about the ebon cloud blocking his path sets his nerves on edge.

Peering into the Emptiness, he attempts to penetrate the thick shroud of un-light, hoping to detect the presence within. As he does, thought forms take shape in his mind. Thoughts that aren’t his.

So subtle is the foreign mind insinuating its alien presence, slipping and slithering between his thoughts, that initially the man believes he’s having an internal dialogue with himself. Profoundly significant ideas and understanding of inscrutable and obscure concepts manifest within his conscious mind, fully formed as if from nowhere, but he’s soon certain, by subtle nuances of speech and syntax, that there’s something else, an “Other”.

An angel perhaps? Something worse?

Discovered, the Other playfully suggests that the man leave with it, that he abandons this plane of existence by stepping into the void before him. This is no simple revelation, no ordinary epiphany, thinks the man. In a heartbeat, it becomes a temptation.

The “Other” appeals, with uncanny persuasion, to the man’s deep-seated desires for escape, to his longing to abandon the crisis of humanity and soar through the universe unfettered. The Other sings seductively of the galactic family waiting just beyond the veil of shadow.

The man has longed for such an invitation – an escape from complication, fear and a culture hell bent on self-destruction; an escape offered by other-worldly, possibly divine forces! How could he refuse?

But he must choose. Go now. Or stay, forever.

It’s simple. All he must do is willingly offer himself to this dark stranger from the stars. His willingness to cross over is a necessary condition.

The man contemplates the tantalizing enigma, feeling the lure of leaping blindly into the unknown. Then he considers his daughter, just two years old.

Like a blazing lighthouse, her image brings focus to his hypnotized mind. He knows immediately that he could not possibly be happy anywhere in the universe except by her side, here on Earth. He couldn’t simply “beam up”, or vibrate to another dimension or some awaiting mother ship.

Somewhere deep inside he knows also that he can’t trust a being that cloaks itself in shadow promising liberation and utopia. He knows that he’d simply become the pawn of a new overlord in some galactic game of chess, a pawn of a significantly higher order, but a pawn nonetheless.

His purpose is here he realizes, on Earth; to his family, to his community, to his planet. The easy way is a copout.

“We are where we are,” he says to the Other, “at this time for a season, though we may never know the reason. It may seem an utter nightmare, but it’s our nightmare – we just haven’t learned how to wake ourselves up yet.”

With that he turns his back on the shadow and chooses the swiftest road to his child and never looks back.

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